Air India comes home! AI goes back to the Tatas after 68 years as it wins bid for USD 2.4 billion

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In a new dawn for the Indian airlines industry, the national carrier Air India has gone back to its original founders. The Tata Sons won the bid to acquire the airline today. The Tatas placed a winning bid of INR 18,000 crore (USD 2.4 billion) to re-acquire the carrier more than half a century after it ceded control to the government.

The winning bid includes a full 100 per cent stake in Air India and its low-cost arm, Air India Express and 50 per cent stake in ground-handling company Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited (AISATS).

Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal said that the winning bidder will not retrench any employee for minimum period of one year and if retrenched after a year, they will have to be offered VRS (voluntary retirement scheme).

The government has also mandated Tatas to use the name and logo of Air India for a period of five years.

Earlier this month both Tata Sons and SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh (in his private capacity) had placed bids. As on 31 August 2021, Air India has a total debt of INR 61,562 crore, out of that INR 15,300 crore will be taken over by the bidder.

In December 2020, the government invited expressions of interest for the divestment of Air India.

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